Reader’s Letter: X-ray machine at shoe shop!

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I seem to remember a new shoe shop coming to Worksop about 1954, and being taken there to have a look.

In the right-hand corner was a machine that fascinated me. You put you feet in a slot at the bottom (wearing new shoes of course), wiggled your toes, and looked through a viewer at the top. In ghostly green, on a screen, you could see the bones of your feet inside the shoes. It was an X-ray machine! I was into science in those days, having just started at Retford Grammar School, and knew all about X-rays. But not how dangerous they could be with repeated doses. I kept pleading to be taken back to “that new shoe shop”, so the machine worked as an attraction. Then suddenly, to my chagrin, the machine vanished, and I have never seen another such.

I wonder if that was Ward’s, whereabouts was the shop? I haven’t been to Worksop for 55 years, alas. Maybe it was Athertons. My wife remembers a similar machine in the early 50s in Poole in Dorset. A bit more research has found that the X-ray machine for the shoe shops was called a Pedoscope. As usual, Wikipedia has got a write-up about it, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe-fitting_fluoroscope

John Palmer

Dorset, England